Conversation in fabric and reason: Political and architectural designs in the circle of Carlo Lodoli
The disciples of the eighteenth-century Venetian architectural theorist Carlo Lodoli turned to architectural projects after failing at direct attempts at political reform during the last decades of the Venetian Republic. This study considers the role that architecture played in promoting political and social agendas, and the role that these agendas played in architectural projects executed by members of Lodoli's circle, including Andrea Memmo and Angelo Querini. Architecture was, for this group, a surrogate form of political speech. Lodoli taught through analogy and used architectural education as a vehicle for discussing political and social issues that were too risky or difficult to discuss openly due to the structural inflexibility of the Venetian Republic.
The larger investigation concerns a relation between the design of buildings and landscapes and the design of political and social programs. It is a relation specific to a particular time and place, but one that can shed light on relations between design and other types of structuring in other times and places, including the United States two hundred years after the demise of the Venetian Republic. Finally, the study considers the implications of Lodoli's analogic method for current architectural practice and teaching, and proposes a possible pedagogy of the imagination as an antidote to the encyclopedic project of the Information Age.